When cruelty is happening around us it is our duty to speak out and take a stand. At the US – Mexican border kids are being separated from their parents due to Trump’s strict and harsh zero-tolerance immigration policy. What is happening to children at the border is an atrocity. Being ripped from their families at such a young age is nothing short of traumatizing. Today, Therese Patricia Okoumou took a stand (or should we say seat) against this immigration policy by climbing the side of the Statue of Liberty to have a solo sit-in at the base. As a monument that symbolizes the welcoming of immigrants into the country, her gesture was beautifully ironic. For three hours, geared up in pink sneakers and a shirt that read, “Trump Care Makes Us Sick,” she told police that she wouldn’t come down until “all the children are released.” The image of her calmly ignoring the police attempting to “rescue” her was truly a sight to see.
Okoumu, 45, immigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo over a decade ago. She works as a personal trainer, which explains her recent climbing feat, and is also a member of the activist group Rise and Resist. After some time on the monument, the police forced her to vacate and she was charged for trespassing. Regardless of the consequences, what she did was truly inspiring.
What better way to celebrate America’s independence than by exercising our rights as American citizens to protest injustice carried out by our own country and Okoumou spent her 4th of July doing just that. She reminded us that patriotism does not mean that we praise our country and ignore its fundamental fractures. True patriotism is the desire to see your country treat all of its people fairly which unfortunately has not been historically the case.